Are you wondering how to increase the speed of your website without plugins?

Well, you are in luck! 

In this article, we would be looking at 11 simple steps you can take to increase the speed of your website without plugins. Most of the tips wouldn’t require you to write any code. There are just simple changes that you can make today to start seeing significant changes in your website performance. 

I understand your fear of using plugins. Most of the plugins today haven’t been updated in a long time and might even do more harm than good. 

I have already written an in-depth guide in the past on WordPress Speed Optimization Tips. This article is over 4000 words and shows you everything you need to make your website faster. As an added bonus, I also wrote on over 50 plugins to avoid if you want a fast website. 

You can check out the article here

Now, let’s see how you can speed up your website without plugins.

1. Measure Site Speed

Before you get started with the rest of this article, it is important that you measure your site speed.  

Personally, I think the best tool to measure site speed is GTMetrix. There are several other tools like Pingdom and Google PageSpeed Tests that you can make use of, but I prefer GTMetrix.

GTMetrix gives you a full overview of your entire website and recommendations that you can implement to make it faster. 

When I plug in my site into GTMetrix, this is what I get.

From the report, my site fully loaded in 1.9s. Which I think is really great. According to a 2018 research by Google, 53% of website visitors would leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. 

So, if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you really need this article. 

These are some of the recommendations you would get from GTMetrix. 

So with these recommendations, you would know exactly what is wrong and how to fix it. 

2. Use A Quality Webhost

Your web host to a large extent would determine how fast your site would run. So it is important that you choose a quality web host. 

There is an abundance of Web hosts online that choosing the right one for your business might be an uphill task. The problem with most web hosting services is that in a bid to make their prices cheap, they cut corners. 

If you want to choose a web host, these are three criteria it should meet:

  • Speed – this is also known as the “load time”
  • Uptime – the host must have an uptime of at least 99.94%
  • Customer Support – their customer support must be effective in dealing with WordPress related queries

These are my top 3 recommendations if you haven’t made your choice yet.


Uptime – 99.99% 

Load time – 390 ms

Features – Free domain for 1 year, HTTP (SSL), one-click install for WordPress, special introductory prices and 30-day money-back guarantee, strong uptime, fast load time, free SSL, 24/7 customer support, and free site transfer. 

Support – 24/7 customer support and live chat

Click here to get started with the $2.75/mo discount plan.


Uptime: 99.99%

Load time: 375ms

Features: Multiple hosting options, SSD storage Arrays, best speed technologies (PowerCacher, MariaDB, HTTP/2, PHP7, and free CDN), built-in scalability, free professional email, free SSL, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited SSL storage,24/7 live chat, email and phone support, free CDN, strong uptime, fast load times, amazing speed technologies, 24/7 support, and free site transfer

Support: 24/7 support.

Click here to get started with their $2.95/mo discount plan


Uptime – 99.99%

Load time – 369ms

Features – Easy signup process, 45-day refund policy, WordPress optimized servers, free site transfer, backup, free SSL certificate, easy WordPress installs, and a free domain for a year.

Support – 24/7 live support

Click here to get their $2.95/mo discount.

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If you haven’t gotten started with your blog yet, then head over to my ultimate guide to starting a blog.

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Check out my ultimate guide about How to Start a Profitable Blog Today.

3. Use A Light Weight Theme

Your theme can also make your site fast or slow. Some themes are not optimized for speed. They contain a lot of unnecessary features that bloat your site and makes it slow. 

When your theme is not optimized, it takes time for the web page to load. A heavy theme can double or even triple the size of your website and make it difficult to load. 

It is important that you choose a light theme with only the features you would need. A lighter theme would significantly increase the speed of your website. 

If you are looking for a lightweight theme with sufficient features, I recommend Astra. The theme is extremely lightweight and requires less than 50kb resources to load. The theme also loads in less than 0.5 seconds.

Click here to try out Astra

4. Upgrade Your Version Of WordPress

If you are making use of WordPress to run your site, upgrading your version of WordPress can improve the speed of your site. With the new version update, there are bug fixes and new features that can improve the performance of your website. 

New versions also come with security updates. Old versions of WordPress are compromised and can easily be attacked by bots. These bots can slow down the speed of your site. 

You should also upgrade your site to the latest PHP version to make it run faster. 

If you are using WordPress, log in to your hosting account, find the PHP version manager, and select the current PHP version. After doing this, you should see some significant changes in your site’s speed.

5. Delete Unnecessary Data For Database

Your site’s database can be filled up with unnecessary data that would just bloat your website and slow it down. Some of these unnecessary data include – post revisions, post data, unused tags, uninstalled plugins, spam comments, and unapproved comments. 

All these data fill up your database and can affect the speed of your site. By deleting this data, you can make your website lighter which would allow it to load faster. 

You can manually delete files from your database using phpMyAdmin and running SQL queries. Click here to see how to do this

6. Reduce Server Request

A server request is made before a website loads. Requests can be scripts, images, or file-like style sheets. 

You can take the following steps to reduce server requests on your website:

  • Reduce the amount of posts that are shown on each page
  • Remove any plugins that you aren’t using
  • Show only post excerpts in archive pages instead of the full article 
  • Use lazy-loading for the images and videos on your site
  • Reduce the file size of the images on your site
  • Combine CSS and JavaScript Files

When you reduce your server requests, you can easily increase the speed of your website without plugins. 

Addition reading: Top 10 Blogging Sites For Free: Start Blogging On a Budget

7. Upload Optimized Images

Images make a huge bulk of your website, so it is important that you upload images that are light and optimized. There are several tools that you can use in reducing the size of an image without it losing its quality. 

You can use TinyPNG and ShortPixel to automatically compress your images. With ShortPixel, you can also optimize several images at once with their bulk optimization tool. 

8. Serve Scaled Pictures

One of the common recommendations that you would see on GTMetrix is serving scaled pictures. 

When you get this recommendation, it means that you should resize that image to the appropriate dimension. Using the right dimensions for your image would allow it to load faster. 

These are the recommended image sizes you should use for your images:

  • Logo: 300 x 100px
  • Full Width blog images: 680px (width)
  • Sliders: 1024 x 400px
  • Featured post images: 350 x 350px
  • Widgets: 300 x 300px

9. Enable Gzip Compression

Your website is made up of a combination of files, code, and repetitive data. When you compress these files, browsers would load your site faster. 

The majority of web hosts would implement gzip compression on your site without any additional action from you. 

You can also implement Gzip compression by adding this code to the .htaccess file in your root directory. 

<IfModule mod_deflate.c>

# Compress HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Text, XML and fonts

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

# Remove browser bugs (only needed for really old browsers)

BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html

BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip

BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html

Header append Vary User-Agent


10. Limit The Number Of Post Revisions 

WordPress would save every post or page you create by default. These old files would bloat your site and make it slow. By limiting the number of post revisions you reduce the number of these files that are saved to your site’s database. 

Use this step to limit post revisions:

 Locate your wp-config.php file in the root directory of the WordPress installation


/**Limit Post Revisions**/

define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3);


You can also choose not to store any revisions. Use this code instead:


/**Remove Post Revisions**/

define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, false)


Additional Reading: 70 Legal Ways to Make Money Online in 2019

11. Enable Browser Caching

What is the function of browser caching?

Browser caching is particularly useful when you have visitors returning or visiting lots of URLs on your site. The static elements are then available in the browser and do not have to be reloaded each time. This protects your server and increases the speed of your website at the same time.

To enable browser caching, add cache-control and expire headers, use the following code

How to Add Cache-Control Headers in Nginx

Add the following code in your servers configuration file

location ~* \.(js|css|png|jpg|jpeg|gif|svg|ico)$ {

 expires 30d;

 add_header Cache-Control “public, no-transform”;


How to Add Cache-Control Headers in Apache

Add the following code to your .htaccess file if you are using an Apache server.

<filesMatch “.(ico|pdf|flv|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|svg|js|css|swf)$”>

Header set Cache-Control “max-age=

This code should be added before “#BEGIN WordPress” or after “#END WordPress”.

How to Add Expires Headers in Apache

Add this code to your .htaccess file to add expires headers in Apache


<IfModule mod_expires.c>

ExpiresActive On

ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”

ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”

ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”

ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”

ExpiresByType image/svg “access 1 year”

ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”

ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”

ExpiresByType application/javascript “access 1 month”

ExpiresByType application/x-javascript “access 1 month”

ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”

ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”

ExpiresDefault “access 2 days”



How to Add Expires Headers in Nginx

To add expires headers in Nginx, add this code to your server block.

location ~*  \.(jpg|jpeg|gif|png|svg)$ {

        expires 365d;


    location ~*  \.(pdf|css|html|js|swf)$ {

        expires 2d;



We’ve come to the end of this article on how to increase the speed of your website without plugins. This article is mostly for people who want to do all the work by themselves. 

The truth is that there are still many amazing lightweight plugins that you can use to make your work faster and more effective. You can check out this complete guide on WordPress speed optimization to see what I mean. 

Additional Reading: 50 Home Based Business Ideas 2019: Start Making Money

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